In Need of Fresh Arm, Cubs Recall Atkins

CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs today recalled right-handed pitcher Mitch Atkins from Triple-A Iowa. To make room for Atkins on the roster, the Cubs optioned right-handed pitcher Jeff Stevens to Triple-A Iowa.

Atkins, who will wear uniform number 60, joins his first major league roster and is available for this afternoon's game against the Houston Astros at Wrigley Field.

The 23-year-old Atkins is 6-10 with a 6.92 ERA (83 ER/108.0 IP) in 20 starts for Iowa this season, his first season pitching exclusively at the Triple-A level prior to today's call-up.

Atkins was named the 2008 Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Year after going 17-7 with a 4.00 ERA (73 ER/164.1 IP) and 132 strikeouts in 28 starts between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa last year, leading all Cubs minor leaguers in wins and strikeouts. He earned Southern League mid-season All-Star honors, going 9-6 with a 3.76 ERA (46 ER/110.0 IP) in 18 starts at Double-A before his promotion to Iowa. Atkins recorded a 12-game winning streak between Tennessee and Iowa June 15-August 14.

The six-foot-three, 230-pound Atkins is 50-37 with a 4.34 ERA (316 ER/654.2 IP) in 125 minor league appearances, all but five as a starting pitcher. A native of Browns Summit, NC, Atkins was originally selected by the Cubs in the seventh round of the 2004 Draft out of Northeast Guilford (NC) High School.

Stevens has no record and a 2.84 ERA (2 ER/6.1 IP) in five relief appearances for the Cubs this season. He is 0-3 with two saves and a 2.18 ERA (10 ER/41.1 IP) in 30 relief appearances for Iowa this year.

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